kind of good news arrived last week for 38 men and women from
the Texas panhandle town of Tulia. Four years ago, one-tenth
of Tulia's Black population plus a few white friends and associates
were hauled off on drug charges in the wee hours, all on the
uncorroborated word of a sleazy white undercover officer. A
nationwide campaign finally forced a review of the Tulia travesty,
but not before vast damage had been done, as reported in the
3 New York Times:
of the 38 who were convicted based on his accusations went
to trial, receiving sentences of at least 20 years. Fourteen
other people received prison sentences after pleading guilty.
Twelve pleaded guilty and were sentenced to probation or had
earlier probation revoked. Two people pleaded guilty to misdemeanors
and were fined. Three had cases dismissed but had probation
revoked in other counties while the Tulia charges were pending.
judge declared that undercover officer Tom Coleman's testimony
was not to be believed, prompting the special prosecutor in
the case to pronounce the "system" vindicated.
law activists say that the 46 men and women arrested in 1999
were victims of a "senseless" drug war run amuck.
That explanation fits the bare facts of the case, but is not
the essential truth. Black Tulia was viciously assaulted because
white Tulia wanted it to happen. Larry Stewart, the elected
Sheriff who hired Coleman, is still on the job. That's proof
enough of white Tulia's intent.
Brown Rockeymoore wrote:
agree with your assessment of the Tulia situation. In fact,
being from West Texas, I would venture to guess that there
are still a lot of "Tulias there, just waiting to be
discovered." Many thanks to Bob Herbert, with his in-depth
articles on the Tulia problem. The articles in the New York
Times publicized the situation to the nation and to the world.
I would like to give credit also to Will Harrell, Executive
Director of the Texas ACLU. He was right there and on top
of the Tulia problem at the beginning.
I love the Black Commentator E-magazine.
It is phenomenal. I look forward to reading it every week.
credited Bob Herbert and the work of the "NAACP Legal Defense
and Education Fund, two prestigious Washington law firms, a
dedicated non-rich lawyer from Amarillo, thousands of man-hours
of work by many small, activists groups like the Drug Policy
Alliance, and ceaseless agitation to throw out the convictions
of 38 of Tom Coleman's victims." But there is much more
to the story.
of Justice is a grassroots group who came together in December
1999 to overthrow the injustice of the Tulia Drug Sting. Local
concerned citizens began to ask questions and organized with
friends and family members of the defendants to publicize
and protest the sting as well as provide support to the devastated
families. Several families sacrificed careers and reputations
making this struggle a full time obsession. We were finally
able to catch the attention of The Texas Observer in June,
2000, the Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice in August, 2000.
the initial publicity provided by those groups, the ACLU and
Drug Policy Alliance joined in the struggle. The NAACP attached
its name to the struggle and then finally the NAACP Educational
and Legal Defense Fund tackled the situation with big time
"Yankee lawyers". In the meantime, Friends of Justice
continues to answer calls for help from across the state,
keep prisoners informed, and travel to Austin, testifying
for changes in laws which allow such travesties across the
more information and less "spin" from the home front,
contact: Thelma Johnson, President, Friends of Justice, Alan
Bean, Director e-Mail: [email protected]
hardly a murmur from the Bushmedia, the Justice Department last
week announced that the American prison population has passed
the two million mark, the net result, said
"of daily racist practice in every hick town, suburb and
urban center of the land... a Gulag such as has never existed
in the history of the world - irrefutable evidence of the barbarism
that throbs at the deepest core of American society."
the ups and downs of crime cycles, race is the constant factor
in the Gulag's inexorable expansion. About half of all jail
and prison inmates are Black, 12 percent of African American
males in their twenties and early thirties are incarcerated
at any given time, and 28 percent of Black males will spend
some time behind bars. "Prison," we wrote, "has
become integral to the collective Black experience."
Baccouche speaks to the institutional racism that funnels so
many millions of Blacks to such horrible institutions.
response to your article on the "Gulag", those statistics
jumped off the page and into my face. Let us not overlook
the fact that the acculturation process toward "Gulag"
status begins at a very young age for Blacks in America. For
example, our so-called "educational" institutions
have a uniformed police officer and an attendance officer
on campus. Their jobs are to keep dossiers on all the students
and refer to the Court those students who commit infractions
of the attendance laws and/or the student conduct codes. The
statistics you cited predict that the majority of the referred
students are Blacks and Hispanics.
is difficult to deny that there must be this underlying intransigent
racism that blinds these officials and school administrators
so much that they fail to see the inequities and social consequences
of their decisions. Some of these officials are Blacks who
have, unfortunately, not reached the threshold of critical
language awareness so that they become consensual and compliant
in a world of spun racist propaganda adversely affecting their
own children. Whites get counseled and Blacks get referred.
It is the institutions' response to the Black presence as
you so eloquently put it.
introduction to the Courts, only one of the many columns that
support the racist infrastructure here in America, seems to
get little attention. Yes!! - "Prisons have become integral
to the collective Black experience." But, let us not
ignore the American educational institutions which have (from
the get go) used the "courts and eventual prison"
to track Blacks early in their lives. The tracking seems to
be part of the pedagogy implemented in the classroom. Black
students throughout their academic careers have consistently
and relentlessly been disabled (both cognitively and socially)
in the classroom and in the school plant by the negative messages
they receive concerning their intellectual, cultural, linguistic
and personal identities. It's obscene!!!
United State now ranks Number One in per capita imprisonment.
Worldwide, the African American incarceration rate is rivaled
only by that of European Gypsies - by far the most historically
oppressed group on the continent. From Dayton, Ohio Peter E.
Fowler puts the national silence on imprisonment in perspective.
of the more disturbing by-products of the media's myopic and
nauseating round-the-clock coverage of the massacre in Iraq
is their tendency to overlook/underreport the tidal wave of
assaults on America's domestic front. As
reported in its April 10 issue, the prison-industrial complex
continues to devour black (and Hispanic) men at an astounding
rate. But not unrelated are other
issues that are potentially disastrous to America's minorities
and underclass such as the Bush Administrations attack on
affirmative action, cutbacks in spending on education, and
the obliteration of social programs. These garner little press
in this time of "war," when the reality is that
these and other conservative policies essentially amount to
war on black, brown, and working class Americans. It's time
for the "new voices" (as Al Sharpton would call
us) to turn our attention to the terrorists that have commandeered
the nation's capitol and oust them from power by any means
- keep bringin' it!
Black Commentator has consistently refused to disassociate the
racist foreign and domestic policies of the Bush Pirates from
the white electorate that supports them. Overwhelming white
American approval of the rape of Iraq once again confirms that
the dominant culture is deformed by delusions that have now
placed the survival of humanity in jeopardy. Unique in the world,
Bush and the nonpartisan supermajority are "products of
a white American cultural bubble that glories in its transparency
to the globe but sees only its own illusions staring back,"
as we wrote in last week's commentary, "Soul
Power '68, Pirate Power '03."
sick majority is cowardly at root, but swells with criminally
insane pride at the carnage wrought by U.S. machines of war
and the relatively safe personnel who man them. Lenwood E. Johnson
knows the kind.
African Americans on this big Plantation called Houston, Texas,
are telling me that they are having to deal with these Bushites
on their jobs bragging about how "They had kicked Iraqis'
tails" (the word "tail" is just for paraphrasing).
there any one around that can compare the resources of Iraqis
to the U.S to make a comparison of the lack of equality in
the invasion (not war)? Is there a way to look at the GNPs,
populations, sanctions, other resources to show the disadvantages
of the Iraqis?
make a comparison between the age of a man to the age of a
child so that these uneducated, warmongering, southerners
can understand. However, please understand it is not the southerners
that I am concerned about. I just want to give our Brothers
remember, the southerners would hunt down runaway slaves who
would have made a job for one of them. The same is true for
Iraq. Soon American corporations will be moving to Iraq and
paying salaries of 25 cents an hour instead of $8 for the
same position. They never can learn because of the "plunderer"
our reply to Mr. Johnson, we congratulated him on "not
allowing the racists to talk trash with impunity." The
actual facts of American superiority in conventional arms (no
one can be truly supreme in nuclear warfare) present the world
with a new reality - one that the Bush men fervently believe
will empower them to reign as global, corporate kings.
real point is that there is no comparison between the
U.S. military and that of any developing country. These are
totally asymmetrical relationships. For example, the number
of Iraqi aircraft is irrelevant if not one can be flown into
battle because of absolute U.S. air supremacy.
these circumstances, conventional military resistance to the
U.S. amounts to suicide. This is also the rationale of the
Palestinian suicide bomber, who is going to die anyway if
he attacks a hard Israeli target, so why use an AK-47?
flaunting of its asymmetrical superiority will inevitably
lead some of those who resist to believe that they have no
choice but to go after "soft" targets: you and me.
(Now, if they could somehow find a way to target only those
good old boys you wrote about, the delusional racists who
cheer while the Pirates get us into war, that would be poetic,
North Koreans have a different answer. "The Iraqi war shows,
"said Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry, "that to allow
disarmament through inspections does not help avert a war, but
rather sparks it.... Only a tremendous military deterrent force"
- meaning, nuclear weapons - can make a nation safe from the
bombers and nuclear brinkmanship - this is what the good old
boys, drunk on whiteness, are cheering. There is no human group
more savage than the civilian ranks of the American War Party
- people with no real enemies and nothing material to gain from
the slaughter they abet, yet who have made international targets
of us all.
Dorr sent us a letter of encouragement from Waterbury, Connecticut.
just read your column and I agree with you 100%. The US has
just isolated itself from the rest of the civilized world.
It is a mistake that will affect us for many years. It is
a sad day for our nation. Thank you for your thoughtful commentary.
Washington demanded clarification, and put us to work.
I understand and am in agreement with your thesis in this
regard. But, I am somewhat perturbed with the preface. Please,
elaborate further in regards to the statement: "...but
of which they have no understanding whatsoever."
Please forgive me, but this prefaced statement
is truly premature. They have no understanding, this
government which has designated its tactics and strategies
to insure the success of this conflict? Have no understanding
of what? What they truly intended this confrontation to be?
All others things than what they expressed to the world, specifically
the national constituents, a greater good, an initiative of
peace, an eradication of the "Axis of Evil"? Clearly
you cannot believe that this administration knows not what
it is doing, despite what it expresses to us. Coversion and
clandestine tactics are the standards of the day. Well, the
standard of contemporary times, for these tactics are nothing
new. They have been utilizing them since the Korean War and
before. Check your resourses! This government knows exactly
what it is doing, and knows exactly what it projects in regards
to its final goals ...Fundamental participation and representation
in the New World Order, the finite goal of the Illuminate.
engaging Mr. Washington on the subject of the Illuminate, we
welcomed the opportunity to explore the non-military means at
the world's disposal in resisting the U.S. offensive-against-all:
have embarked on a project to bring to heel a world that they
hold in great contempt, but of which they have no understanding
The Pirates know only what they want to do,
not the people whom they want to do it to, about whom
they have no understanding whatsoever. In the same
fashion, the slaveholders did not know or understand the African,
nor did they care to. They knew only the purposes to which
they intended to put the African. They worked their will through
brute force. As long as brute force is sufficient, the oppressor
may maintain the privilege of his delusions. This has been
the white American experience.
We submit that you give the oppressor too
much credit, which we believe has been an historical shortcoming
in our analysis of the enemy. He may be smart or clever, but
he operates within frames of reference that do not match reality
but, rather, serve to rationalize his privileged position
in the world. His wealth and power have allowed him the latitude
to make huge strategic and tactical mistakes, yet (collectively,
as Europeans) emerge victorious over centuries.
The Bush men have reached too far, their
unprecedented global ambitions far outweighing their actual
power. In the 21st Century, power - the ability to cause things
to happen, or to thwart the initiatives of others - is diffused
throughout an inter-connected world in ways never experienced
by human beings. Global hegemony is a problematic prospect
under any combination of theoretical circumstances. The Bush
men's attempt to impose their domination under the current
relationship of forces is doomed by objective circumstances.
Their delusions, however, render them incompetent to such
a degree that they will accelerate the very national decline
that drove them to challenge world order, in the first place.
They are compounding their weaknesses, and are already showing
the limits of their strengths.
U.S. cannot occupy the world, cannot force the planet to continue
to prop up the dollar, cannot crash into every global conversation,
and is incapable of understanding the conspiracies that every
sector and nationality of humanity is even now plotting against
American hegemony. Which bring us to...
redlining of America
a very kind letter, John Maas cited the following paragraph
from our April 3 commentary, "Racist
War, Pirate Plunder."
wired world is taking note of every pathological tick in the
twisted American face. Even now, a myriad of plans are evolving
to sidestep the dangerous, delusional United States as mankind
goes about its collective business. A kind of international
redlining will increasingly make itself felt, but not seen.
The Bush men believe they are willing into existence a New
American Century, while in reality they are creating an America-phobic
planet in which the U.S. has earned an invisible but powerfully
consequential non-favored nation status. Having invented the
concept of globalism, the United States will be consigned
to pariah status - and shrink, until it learns to live by
human norms and scales.
Maas wrote: "This paragraph is one of the most to-the-point
analyses of this madness sans the intellectualizing that I have
read. Let's hope so. Bravo!"
Black thinks we got it right - mostly.
essay "Pirates Plunder" is an extraordinary and
poignant article. I agree with the premise of the article
that the U.S. will implode, but in contrast to the articles
position I think that the implosion unfortunately will occur
sooner than your article indicates. One additional comment,
I think that The Black Commentator is truly one of the webs
best sites and your staff of writers are exceptional. Keep
up the great work.
the X-rated instant that the tanks crossed the Kuwaiti border,
the Bushmedia climbed beneath the sheets of embeddedness and
became one with their Leader. The burden of detailed analysis
of corporate media thought, the tricks and euphemisms of the
butt-kissing profession, is lifted. They are harlots, flashing
noisily and garishly by on The Stroll.
F. Treadway, a person of refinement, would not put it that way.
Nevertheless, she is shocked, shocked "and appalled."
am thoroughly appalled by the corporate media, as I know you
are. The glee with which they are touting this so-called victory
over Iraq is nauseating. I caught just the tail end of Lou
Dobbs' Moneyline on MSNBC last evening, and it was distressing
to think that so-called civilized people could revel in the
overthrow of another sovereign nation. He painted those of
us who dissent with this war as "persons who have forgotten
what freedom is all about." Then, he had the gall to
quote Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" while showing
the collapse of the Berlin Wall and equating that with the
dismantlement of Saddam's statues!
Until and unless we can wrest the media away
from the corporations, I am afraid we are to be subjected
to a constant barrage of propaganda. This, in turn, feeds
the thoughtless masses and keeps them dancing to George Bush's
tune, until we are shadows like those on Hiroshima's walls.
of our most prized letters arrived in time for the April
10 EmailBox column. Dr. Asselin Charles, Associate Professor
of French and English, Wenzao College of Languages, Taiwan,
asked: "Any chance of producing the occasional, say a couple
of times a year, parallel edition in the major languages of
the African Diaspora? The French, Spanish, or Portuguese speaking
brothers and sisters around the world would be thrilled to hear
a fearless voice from our midst."
Gibson wrote to elaborate on that theme.
international edition is a great idea but not in the languages
of our old slave and colonial masters. The international edition
should be led by versions produced from the multiple languages
that are rooted in the African continent - from the sea-level
shores of Tripoli to the heights of Kilimanjaro and from the
Horn of Africa to the Ivory Coast. After that - and only after
- should other languages from around the world be brought
the context within which we exist today is the remnants of
hundreds of years of denial that Africans (certainly African-Americans)
had a culture and their own languages that are the equal of
European vernacular, we as a people need to lead the way in
the re-acquisition of that which has been stolen. Anyone remotely
familiar with the impact of publishing the Bible in English
will be excited by the potentialities released when
is first published in Kiswahili.
the spirit of wishfulness, we would hope that Kiswahili speakers
and others, should they decide that The Black Commentator has
value to their particular conditions and struggle, would translate
what is useful on their volition from whatever language version
that is available.
you for your telling "how it is" articles. I agree
so much and am glad to obtain new and insightful information
on your website. I think it is very interesting that the black
population are taking the lead against this evil pack in the
White House today.
is a lead position won by default. In that general vein, Will
Stites, of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, comments.
you for The Black Commentator. It is very valuable to have
a sober voice that speaks from within America, but does not
proceed from the dominant corporate-power elite.
I am a "white" person, I have often thought that
African-Americans are the force that has repeatedly saved
our country from itself. I hope that the awareness will spread
of how the Bush administration is a potentially fatal disease
to our nation and our world. If we do not remove these dreadful
people from office soon, the damage will not be reversible
within our lifetimes.
artistry of Khalil Bendib
Stills, of Hayward, California wants to know, " How long
is Colin Powell going to allow Donald Rumsfeld to continually
cut him off at the knees in the media?" She explains.
my way of thinking, Rumsfeld has no more regard or respect
for Colin Powell's ability than a rabid dog. When is Powell
going to grow some cajones and tell the Bush Administration
to either allow his input, demand Rumsfeld's respect for his
ability, or he's going to quit?
Keep the articles coming, .
I'm glad to know someone is willing to tell it like it is
and not drown in propaganda.
Black Commentator's institutional personality is largely defined
by distinguished political cartoonist Khalil Bendib, who has
spoken eloquently on the matter of Rumsfeld versus Powell.